I am, however, a big follower of social media and any big story will begin to filter through into what people are posting. So when I began to see stories about children being separated from their parents when crossing into the United States, I started forming a lot of questions in my mind. I stewed over things for most of yesterday and then finally, after dinner last night I started a dialogue with Marvin about what is happening at the border. He's a good one to have these discussions with because he is smart, honest and articulate and enjoys a good debate. We don't always agree but he never makes me feel uncomfortable with speaking my heart to him. Here are a few of the questions I had for him (and for you, if you care to comment on them):
- Why are these people not being allowed into the United States?
- Why are they being detained instead of just turned back?
- Are they accused of a crime? Are they being given due process? Are they represented? Are the children represented in any way?
- What has changed about the situation on the border in the recent weeks that has constituted a crisis?
- What happened to the children in the past?
- Why would a parent risk separation from their children - if it was risky to cross into the border, why would they subject their children to it?
- Who is caring for the children while they are separated from their parents?
If you've read my blog for any time at all, you know that at the very core of who I am, I am a mother and a grandmother. Children are precious to me. Lives are precious to me. I am staunchly pro-life, pro-child, pro-family.
For example, yesterday Cosette had brought her kitten with her when she came to our house. She is deeply attached to her kitten. We needed to go to the store and it is very hot where we live so we couldn't have left the kitten in the car for any amount of time. We got Whiskers settled comfortably in my bathroom with fresh water and kitten kibble and started to leave the house. Cosy could NOT understand why the kitten couldn't come. She was heartbroken... devastated... hysterical! I was in my bathroom upstairs while her dad was in the driveway trying to get her in the car and I could hear her screaming from there. I went outside and she was so upset that she was hyperventilating. I knew we couldn't just put her in the car like that... so I carried her to the covered porch and sat down in the rocking chair with her in my lap and just held her and rocked her and kissed her sweaty little head as her tears wet the front of my shirt. I wanted her to understand why the cat couldn't go but before I could even begin to reason with her, I needed to calm her down and make her feel safe.
I don't fully understand this issue at the border. Those questions I listed for you... I don't fully have answers yet. I see the image of the toddler crying for it's mother and it rips my heart out. I know that there are probably reasons that these people are being detained. I believe that there have to be reasons that they aren't allowed into our country. But what matters most to me is the hurt and fear that people are feeling at being separated from their families.
When I moved to Florida and Cody stayed behind in Georgia, I could not even say his name without breaking down into tears. He was my child and he needed to be with me. It wasn't time for him to be out of my nest yet. He was 17.
When we were unable to see Cosy two years ago, same thing. I could not say her name without crying. Even now, I will tell you that the time away from her was the hardest thing I've ever lived through, even in comparison to my mom's illness last year. It's that loss of the parent-child relationship that is unnatural. My mom was safe and surrounded by people who loved her and were trained in how to care for her. I knew what was happening in my mom's life but with Cosy, we didn't know what was happening. We knew my mom would die and her suffering would end but we didn't have any certainty about our future relationship with Cosy.
I can't tell you that I came to any firm conclusions about this situation and I am far from well informed. But I have to admit that when the order came down today to stop separating families, I felt a huge sense of relief. I know that our borders are not as safe as they should be. I know that other countries - like Russia, for instance - have much stricter border protection. But as Marvin says, we're better than those other countries. We don't want to be them. For me, when I don't understand the problem, I just know I have to err on the side of love and compassion.
I've posted a few screenshots that I found on social media today that made me think... I'm also including some other words of wisdom.
I stumbled across this in a draft of a blog I never published... these are things I found on little notes in my Grandma's bible. She died in 1998... so, twenty years ago! I thought some of these might speak to some of you... and I want you to know that wherever you stand politically, I just hope that you remember to show kindness and compassion to others. Here's what Grandma Pennington said:
- Your best friend is he who brings out the best that is within you.
- Every human heart has an unseen battlefield where the good and the bad are fighting it out
- Without the Holy Spirit, the Christian witness is powerless
- Real goodness is a trait of character which only comes through the indwelling spirit
- God never gives power to a person who will not use it
- People are attracted to Christ by the lives of those who profess Him
- The highest purpose of prayer is to turn our attention toward God, to get God into our minds and; into our thinking
- God is as near to you as the air you breathe, not way out yonder somewhere
- Prayer is coming to God with open minds saying, "God reveal to me what you want me to do".
- Many times God reveals His will to us one step at a time, as you take that step then you can see the next one.
- We cannot prove God by argument but we can make our own lives an argument for God
- When we lose hope, we lose God
- I believe that Christ rose from the dead, this resurrection is my assurance that there is life for me beyond the grave. "Because I live, " he said, "ye shall also live".
- I know someone will carry my body and bury it in the ground. There it will decay but because I know Christ, that will not be the end of me. I shall live after death.
- A friend is one who comes in when the world goes out.
- If asked to, God will soften harshness in people
- Religion is both love for God and love for man. It involves the fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man
- If a man would not help his son or daughter when he or she was needed it and was in trouble, then he was not a worthy father
- There have been many, many people in whose heart our Lord stilled the storm after some great sorrow or hurt or disappointment. He is still working His miracles.
- I cannot forgive my sins. I cannot blot them out. My only hope is the mercy of God.
- With God's help, we can face any temptation and overcome it.
- Without God, we cannot. Without us, God will not. (Augustine)
- It is important that we know what we believe
- God is stronger than satan, goodness is stronger than evil, love is stronger than hate, righteousness is stronger than sin
- Day by day we gather the harvest of yesterday and we are sowing for the harvest of the future
- If you have a problem, plant a seed
- a missionary is not necessarily one who crosses the sea, but one who sees the cross
- Suffering accepted and used may prove to be the best fruit of your life.
- God's grace does not always explain nor remove the thorn, but it is always sufficient to overcome
- He who cannot let go cannot hang on.